AT&T unlimited data users, your champion has arrived. Today the United States Federal Trade Commission announced that it has filed a federal court complaint against AT&T Wireless, alleging that the company misled customers by offering "unlimited" cellular data service that was severely reduced in speed at some times and places. The FTC's complaint takes issue with AT&T's failure to inform customers that the unlimited data they were paying for could be "throttled," often cutting data speeds to specific customers by up to 90 percent.
Nine out of ten times when we report on a lawsuit, it has something to do with patents or trademarks. I'll admit that those posts can get a little dull, but they're important for the world of consumer electronics. If you've been waiting for something a little juicier in your tech legal news, have we got a story for you. The Seattle Times reports that American cellular carrier T-Mobile is suing Huawei, a giant provider of telecom infrastructure hardware and currently the third-biggest manufacturer of phones on the planet, for stealing a robot.
Well, it was fun while it lasted. In a conclusion to court cases that have been going around the country ever since the service started in 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled this morning that Aereo TV is in active violation of copyright law. The decision in favor of television and cable broadcasters and their corporate backers will effectively cripple the web and mobile streaming TV service, and may destroy the company altogether.
If you hate to read these stories, imagine how much we hate to write them: yet another volley has been tossed in the patent battle between Samsung and Apple. This time it's the Korean manufacturer taking its intellectual property guns out against Apple, claiming that the shiny new iPhone 5 violates eight of its software patents.
Samsung claims six utility patents and two standard essential patents. The later (USPTO filings 7,551,596 and 7,756,087) have to do with data transfers on mobile networks, while the former (USPTO 7,672,470, 7,577,757, 7,232,058, 6,292,179, 6,226,449, and 5,579,239) are more varied, ranging from audio streaming and control to keyboard and voice inputs.
As most of our readers are surely aware, the Apple vs Samsung case is still boiling, and over the course of nearly two weeks since the trial's beginning, document after document has revealed juicy details from both sides regarding previously unreleased designs, plans, and even sales figures. While so far we've avoided piecemeal coverage of the case's twists and turns, a new development (reported earlier this evening by The Verge) reveals something particularly interesting.
According to the
always sometimes occasionally reliable FOSS patents, Apple made a conscious decision to allow Samsung to launch the Galaxy S III on time... so that the case could go to trial sooner. Apple had the option of filing a temporary restraining order to potentially stop the shipment of the SGSIII, but doing so would've been a risk for a few reasons.
Because Apple and Samsung are still in litigation over the Galaxy Nexus, Apple could attempt to stop shipment of the GSIII using a temporary restraining order (TRO).
Two weeks ago, the judge in Apple's case against Motorola ordered Google and Moto to hand over details on Android development. Naturally, Motorola appealed, and managed to change Judge Posner's mind. While the company isn't getting away scot-free (or at least, not yet), he did say that "[Apple's] motion is vague and overbroad and Motorola's objections are persuasive." In other words, Apple needs to tone down their request and make sure things are relevant and specific (or in my words, "Apple needs to stop requesting all the shit they can think of").
Last week, we found out that Apple was bringing a fresh suit against Samsung - specifically, seeking a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus over four patents. Now the official complaint document has been posted by the court, and it turns out the suit is aimed at a lot more than just the beloved GNex, and involves more than the four patents initially mentioned. In fact, Apple explicitly names seventeen Samsung devices and cites eight of its patents.
Apple is at it again, bringing a motion for preliminary injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Nexus in the United States Thursday. The motion is based on a handful of powerful patents, which FOSS Patents has labeled "the patent equivalent of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." Here's FOSS' breakdown:
the "data tapping" patent based on which the ITC ordered an import ban against HTC
a patent related to Siri and unified search, which must be of huge concern to Google with a view to its core business
a new slide-to-unlock patent that even had the head of the Taiwanese government profoundly worried
a word completion patent that provides major speed improvements for touchscreen text entry
Three of the above patents were apparently granted only recently (after September 2011), while the "data tapping" patent may sound familiar to those who followed Apple's case to the ITC against HTC.
The ridiculous and wasteful patent war continues, with a German court confirming that Apple has filed two new suits against Samsung. The first is against 10 phones including the SGSII, and the second against 5 tablets. Details are light at the moment, but evidently Apple is using these two (unsurprisingly very vague) patents in the smartphone suit:
Yes, seriously - their patents are basically for a shape. Readers familiar with the current lawsuit situation in the tech world know the situation is violently out of control, and close followers of AP have heard my thoughts on just how hypocritical and ridiculous Apple is.